The Mahabodhi temple situated in Bodh Gaya is a complex of six holy sites depicting the life and more importantly the Enlightenment of Lord Buddha. The Lotus Pond located just outside the complex of the holy places is considered sacred too. It is believed that when Emperor Ashoka visited Bodh Gaya in 260 B.C. he built this temple under the sacred Bodhi tree. Maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India, this temple was destroyed in the 11th century and was restored in 1880 followed by several renovations.
The most beautiful element is the “Seat of Enlightenment” constructed by Ashoka, is a stone representation of the Vajrasana on a diamond throne shrine with a canopy over it supported on four pillars. The beautiful image of Buddha in the Bhumisparsha Mudra in the temple, the sculpted stone balustrades outside the temple and the magnificent architecture of the Mahabodhi temple make it one of the most visited monasteries in India. Even though the history of this temple has several different versions, and is till date unclear, the importance of this temple is very evident in Buddhism. It also finds importance in Hinduism for housing a Shivalingam which was installed in 860 AD. Also Buddha is considered as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
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